There seems to be a fair amount of folks visiting the ‘Net who are interested in getting into motorcycling, so maybe it’s time for some of us to help them with a reality check. For my part, might I recommend:
1. First, and most important, decide what you want to do with your bike/what kind of future you envision for yourself within the motorcycling world.
2. Now start asking for advice (what bike, style, etc and why).
3. Determine if the person giving advice is simply enamored with the latest/greatest, or has taken a step or two back to view motorcycling and bikes with a bit more critical eye.
I’ve seen folks in here recommend newbies get 929s/R1s/Hayabusas, etc for their first bike. I find those recommendations pretty darn amazing, and potentially life-threatening. True, if you’re an extremely level-headed individual, maybe you can pull off buying a big bore sportbike as your first ride, but I don’t seem to run across very many newbies that appear to be level-headed (though I’m sure there are ‘some’ out there).
If you gotta have a sportbike (I can empathize), be prepared to shell out some $$$ for the inevitable body damage you’ll suffer from those learning falls (hopefully of the parking lot variety). While a first bike without bodywork would probably be a good choice, I can understand not wanting the additional expense of trading bikes after your learning curve starts to flatten a bit. It would be nice to get your bike choice right the first time, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t turn out that way.
Now that you’ve decided what you want to do with your bike (race/run around town/travel a bit), start asking for advice. If your plans include seeing a bit of the world from your bike, do you really need the radical seating position of what seems to be the hot ticket by those cruising the main drags around town? Even if you think all you want to do is ride around town, don’t be surprised if you find in the future you want to expand your motorcycling horizons a bit. If so, how’s that ‘gotta have’ ride all your buddies said you had to have going to work out? In the past, I had to cut loose a few folks I rode with (none of whom I think are any longer riding) as after zinging around town (what felt like) a few million times, I felt the need to explore a bit. Since I couldn’t get those I rode with interested (they seemed content to stay within their own little world), I had to hit the road by myself. It’s unfortunate they sold motorcycling short, for if not, perhaps they’d still be riding/enjoying motorcycling today.
Now that you’ve decided what you want to do with your bike, and are actively seeking advice, it’s time to size up the person dishing it out. Are their recommendations made with your intended use of your bike in mind, or is he/she just steering you to what they consider the hot ticket? If you think you’d like to see the world from your bike, do they travel with theirs or are they the around town type? If you want to race/stick close to home, are you going to ask someone who does Iron Butt rides for advice? If the person dishing out advice doesn’t use their bike as you think you’d like to use yours, maybe it’s time to consider looking for recommendations elsewhere?
The floor is now open for discussion…